People and productivity

Is your business due a health check?

Business

9 June 2021

Health and wellbeing has been everyone’s priority over the last year, as we donned masks and washed our hands to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. In addition, the toll on psychological health has been significant for some people as we managed our isolation and increasing levels of anxiety.

Business funding and savings platform Swoop share their top tips on how to give your business a health check, with insight from AXA Health’s mental health lead Eugene Farrell.

Resilience

Datas from the Office for National statistics (ONS) show that resilience peaked last year and although reduced, it remains above the pre-pandemic level (ONS, 2021). The long term erosion of resilience may have had negative effects upon some. Other data from ONS, shows that depression levels are twice those seen a year ago, and this is a worrying sign for the future, (ONS, 2021).

Our levels of resilience have been fully tested, but hopefully, the worst of the pandemic is now behind us as the vaccine rollout continues apace, and the UK can gradually return to life which may be a new as normal.

Why having a healthy business is important

A successful business needs healthy people, positively engaged and with good mental wellbeing and resilience for the future. If we’re starting from low levels of resilience, it’s going to be an uphill struggle, so we need to check where we are at now.

As lockdown is relaxed, we may emerge into a different world, the experience of the pandemic may still overshadow some, while others will be keen to get on. This offers a good time to pause and think about the future and what you as a business leader need and what your teams need to ensure their resilience is boosted.

So check in with yourself and with your team early on, before we get back to full speed and forget to take this important measurement. If we just move on, we are potentially storing up a problem for the future.

Here are a few steps on how you can ensure you have a healthy business:

  • Getting your business up to full speed again will be a priority, but be mindful that you don’t overexert yourself.
  • Create some time and space away from work.
  • Keep the family in mind and spend time there too.
  • Exercise if you can, as that can really help, as well as spending time doing something you enjoy that's not work.
  • Removing stigma and allowing people to speak up without fear is important. By signalling to your team that you want to be supportive and remain open-minded to talking about mental health it will allow them to speak up.
  • Ensure you’ve checked in with the whole team to see how they are feeling and coping, and if they’re struggling ask them what would help, what you can do together.

It’s a time to keep a close eye on everyone so you can pick up on signs of struggling like behaviour change, relationship decline and a shift in mood.

Financial health

The easing of restrictions is welcome news for business owners who also had to worry about the financial health of their businesses as the economy ground to an effective halt during lockdown. After spending the majority of the last 12 months in survival mode, their attention can now switch to taking part in the recovery.

If the pandemic took a toll on your business’s financial health, it could be time for a check-up on that too. Worrying about financial issues is bad for our mental wellbeing, as well as our business. One of the most vital signs is cash flow. In an ideal world, your business is cash flow positive, which means that your inflows are greater than your outflows.

However, many SMEs had to shut up shop during lockdown, while others experienced a dramatic drop in sales. Fortunately, the Chancellor spotted these symptoms and provided plenty of medicine when he announced the Budget at the beginning of March.

To start with, he extended the furlough scheme until 30th September. That’s a heavy weight off any business owners mind, although employers have to cover 20% of wages from August. Mr Sunak also continued the business rates holiday until 30th June, with a 66% discount for the rest of the year.

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For those SMEs getting to grips with the new normal after the reopening of the high street, the Chancellor announced £5 billion worth of restart grants. Retailers can apply for up to £6,000 per premises, while the leisure and hospitality industries can claim a maximum of £18,000.

Mr Sunak provided another tonic by announcing the launch of the Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS). RLS runs until the end of this year and offers a variety of products including

  • Term loans
  • Overdrafts
  • Asset finance
  • Invoice finance

Similar to previous support schemes like the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), RLS provides a guarantee to lenders, but it doesn’t come with an interest rate holiday and borrowers need to go through credit and fraud checks.

Alternative sources of funding

One trend we’ve recently noticed here at Swoop is SMEs are increasingly applying for alternative sources of funding for a financial shot in the arm. For example, we’re receiving an increasing number of inquiries about business grants and tax credits.

Business grants- which unlike a loan you don’t have to repay- come in various forms, for example to support innovation or via Local Enterprise Partnerships. Tax credits encourage investment in research and development, and you can claim them either as cash payments or against your business’s corporation tax bill.

Of course, cutting costs also boosts the bottom line. That’s why our comparison checkers are proving popular with our customers. They help you figure out if you could save money by moving your business accounts to another bank (both high street and challengers), using a different intermediary for your international payments or switching to a utility provider offering a better deal.

To summarise, Andrea Reynolds CEO and Founder at Swoop says: "We’re doing everything possible to help rebuild the economy as we recover from this pandemic by making it far easier for businesses - from start ups to established SMEs across all sectors and regions - to access the finance and support needed to succeed."

Key takeaways

  • As the UK slowly returns to business as usual, business owners might want to consider checking up on their physical, emotional and financial health  
  • Checking up on your own and your employees emotional and physical health is good business
  • Reduce stigma around metal health by signalling your openness to talking about it and supporting it
  • The Chancellor included a range of policies in this year’s Budget, which should help SMEs strengthen their finances 
  • Mr Sunak extended the furlough scheme and business rate holidays and unveiled restart grants and the Recovery Loan Scheme 
  • A growing number of SMEs are applying for alternative sources of funding, such as business grants and R&D tax credits 
  • Cutting costs also boosts the bottom line, so make sure to shop around for essential business services 

About Swoop

Swoop is a business funding and savings platform enabling businesses to discover the right funding opportunities across loans, equity, grants and commercial mortgages, and to identify and easily make savings. 

Swoop matches businesses with funding from over 1,000 providers, and identifies savings across banking, utilities, insurance and foreign exchange through their smart open banking technology – all in one fell swoop.

Small business health insurance experts

Start taking care of yourself and your team today and get a quote for our business health insurance. Or, talk to us about how we can help your business reach their wellbeing goals.